Selecting the Indian cricket team is perhaps one of the toughest jobs in the country. As such, the wise men need to very careful as critics and fans are always waiting to pounce on their failings and debatable decisions. In the past, a number of Indian selectors have found themselves in massive controversies, with Mohinder Amarnath once famously referring to them as a bunch of jokers.
In recent times as well, selectors have found themselves in soup owing to some highly debatable selections. Fans would clearly remember the huge furore over the Indian team led by Virat Kohli that was selected for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup as the experienced Ambati Rayudu was controversially dropped from the final squad and an untested Vijay Shankar from Tamil Nadu was picked instead to take the flight to England.
Not surprisingly, most renowned former Indian cricketers decide to stay away from the unenvious job.
MSK Prasad, who was appointed chairman of Indian selectors back in 2016, played for Andhra Pradesh for over a decade but his international career was, in stark comparison, very short. He played 6 Tests and averaged under 12 with a highest of 19. Prasad was the wicket-keeper on the disastrous tour Down Under in 1999-2000, during which he averaged just over 8. He made 14 and 11 at Adelaide, 6 and 3 at Melbourne and 5 and 3 at Sydney. That, predictably marked the end of his Test career.
Prasad also featured in 17 ODIs for India from 1998 to 1999, but without too much success. He managed merely 131 runs in 11 innings at an average of 14.55. Prasad only had one fifty to his name with a highest of 63 against South Africa at Nairobi in 1999. Prasad's first-class career lasted from 1994 to 2007.
Under Prasad's tenure as chief selector, all-rounder Hardik Pandya made his ODI debut.
Most significantly, the Prasad-led committee picked Jasprit Bumrah to make his Test debut in South Africa in January 2018, which has proved to be a masterstroke.
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The son of a enowned coach from Mumbai, Vasu Paranjpe, Jatin had an impressive first-class career with Mumbai, averaging over 46 but could not replicate the same at the international level. He played only four ODIs for India in 1998, averaging 18, with the highest score of 27.
In the first match of the 1998 Sahara Cup in Toronto, he made a run-a-ball 23 to play a small role in India's victory. However, he hurt his ankle in the field during the same tournament and was forced to fly back home. The unfortunate incident signalled the abrupt end of his international career.
Having retired from first-class cricket in the 2000-2001 season, he was appointed national selector in 2016, then removed from the post in January 2017, along with Gagan Khoda, for not being ex-Test players as per Lodha committee recommendations, only to be reinstated in August 2018.
Gandhi, who was appointed national selector with MSK Prasad in 2016, had a similar end to his international career in Australia during the 1999-2000 series. Despite a duck in his first Test innings, he had an impressive debut series against New Zealand at home with scores of 75, 88 and 31 not out.
He was thus anointed as India's next Test opener. However, one Test in Australia and his dreams were crushed. Gandhi opened the innings in the Adelaide Test, only to make 4 and 0. He was dismissed in both innings by Glenn McGrath, struggling against the bounce and pace of the Aussie legend, and never played a Test for India again.
Gandhi further featured in only three ODIs, in which he averaged a lowly 16.33 with a highest score of 30. He had a much more distinguished career with Bengal, averaging close to 43.
The bulky former India off-spinner was appointed chairman of the All-India junior selection committee in April 2018. Kapoor was part of India’s 1996 World Cup squad, but played very few matches thereafter as India were stunned by Sri Lanka in the semi-finals at the Eden Gardens.
Kapoor was part of the stunning collapse India had on that forgettable evening as he played a horrible slog shot to be dismissed for a duck. Although he played 17 ODIs from 1995 to 2000, he finished with a poor record -- merely eight wickets at 76.50 with a best of 2 for 33. In the 4 Tests he featured in between 1994 and 1996, he did not fare much better -- claimed only six wickets at an average of 42.50.
A former India and Punjab opener, Vikaram Rathour replaced the pedigreed Mohinder Amarnath as national selector from North Zone in 2012. Rathour was tipped for big things in international cricket, but it never quite happened for him.
He toured England in 1996 and South Africa in 1997 and while he scored tons of runs in the practice matches, he came a cropped in the real Test. His poor technique against the outgoing ball proved his undoing in England. He failed in the chances in South Africa as well. In six Tests, he had a highest score of 44.
Although he managed two fifties in seven ODIs, the selectors lost faith in him and his international career was curtailed. Life came full circle for Rathour when he was named India’s batting coach in August 2019, replacing Sanjay Bangar.
Prominent players who made their international debut during Rathour's tenure as selector in the committee led by Sandeep Patil, include KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Also, it was during Rathour's tenure as selector that Bhuvneshwar Kumar made his Test debut, during the tour of Australia in 2013.